On December 24, 2009, the Israeli oil exploration company Givot Olam, posted two media announcements a few hours apart.
Givot Olam's first announcement revealed that "significant quantities" of oil had been found in the mud of Meged 5, a drill site close to the Palestinian village of Rantis, north west of Ramallah.
Rantis is located close to the Green Line, the 1967 line that initially separated Israel from the West Bank. Israel had been searching for oil around Rentis since at least 2002, an action in violation of international law as well as a violation of the Oslo Agreement, which required that Israel and Palestine refrain from any unilateral exploration of national resources in the occupied territories.
Oil development in the West Bank would boost the Palestinian economy. It could also help develop a strong Palestinian nation on the east side of the Green Line.
The game Israel has played with its decade-long development of an oil field that clearly extends well into the West Bank, is a game Israel intends to win.
The Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ), describes the village of Rantis where the game is being played.
"Rantis, is a small Palestinian village located to the northwest of Ramallah district in the Palestinian West Bank. It has a total population of 2,688 inhabitants and a built up area of 458 dunums (115 Acres). The village is inhabited mostly by 6 clans (Wahdan, Hallaf, Ballot, Dar Abo Salim, Al Yahee, Hawashe. Most of Rantis villagers depend on agriculture as their main source of income. ... In 1967 the Israeli forces confiscated most of the Palestinian agricultural lands in the village for colonizing purposes, and hundreds of olive trees were uprooted.
"Today, the village of Rantis is surrounded by a set of settlements and Israeli military areas, such as Ofrim and Beit Arye settlements which are located to the east of the village in addition to a military area located to the northwest of the village. Recently, the village lands became threatened by Israeli land confiscation activities for constructing the Segregation Wall."
Israel has worked hard to build its "security-focused" future. It has been constructing its segregation wall (a "security" wall in Israel's narrative) since 2002. The segregation wall runs deep into great sections of the West Bank. The wall moves in directions that have nothing to do with security and everything to do with Israel's long-range economic planning.
Givot Olam had been told by the IOF that those eager television crews that had rushed into the West Bank could not film in the area because the Meged 5 oil well "is located in an IDF firing zone."
After a few hours of excitement over Meged 5's oil-filled mud site, a second media announcement appeared. Posting number two announced that the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) had closed the Meged 5 area to the media. For the moment at least, Meged 5 was another Dimona, Israel's not-yet-admitted nuclear arms site, with its details hidden from public view.
Even without pictures, and no doubt to the delight of Givot Olam's shareholders, the company's stock rose 177% by market close December 24, 2009.
Israel's peace negotiators have been sitting around a peace table with Palestinian leaders and U.S. mediators. Meanwhile, there is no halt to Israel's settlement development on Palestinian land, nor its oil exploration around the village of Rantis.
Israel's march toward total domination of the land between the sea and the river, plays like a bad dream from which the victims cannot wake up. Unfortunately, it is not a dream but a well orchestrated game of pretense designed to extend the Nakba into the 21st century.
Incremental prisoner releases by Israel's occupying military power bring brief moments of Palestinian family reunion joy (see picture above, from Ramallah), but along with the joy is the reality of a powerless Palestinian population, trapped in an open air prison, watching its land, and natural resources stolen, while too many of its young men grow old in Israeli prisons.
In August of this year, I suggested in Wall Writings that we study the ominous signs that indicate Israel seeks neither fairness nor justice in its dealings with its neighbors in the Middle East region. I suggested that Israel's policies appear to be pushing for a Carthaginian peace imposed on Palestine.